Struggling readers grab a ‘pizza’ the action

From left: Melissa Murdoch from Amity Fund with Anne Hardy and Ola Odeyemi from KRAN with the pizza prize for the winning Bookbinders group.

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A group of vulnerable youngsters striving to build their literacy skills received a special delivery after clinching first place in a reading competition.

The winning team of young refugees and asylum seekers from Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN), Canterbury won a pizza night for their dedication to hitting the books. They bested groups of individuals supported by organisations including Porchlight and CXK to take the top spot.

The contest was organised by the Bookbinders scheme which provides resources for organisations to help adults and adolescents who struggle with their reading.

Domino’s Pizza delivered the prize for the winners to enjoy at a reading session also attended by Anne Hardy and Ola Odeyemi from KRAN and Melissa Murdoch from Amity Fund.

Anne said: “Many of the young refugees and asylum seekers attending our Learning for Life projects have had little or no previous education and all of them need help to develop their English so they can access mainstream education.

“KRAN students really enjoyed taking part in this initiative, and for many of them it has been their first experience of reading fiction. Teachers have seen an improvement in their confidence and pronunciation. One young person couldn’t really read at all before the project started, but now he is eager to read and is building his confidence.”

Melissa said: “Literature can be a portal to other worlds and Bookbinders is a great way for the young people at KRAN to expand their English skills, connect and bond with each other, and to improve their chances of going onto further education and future work opportunities.”

Kate Austin, co-ordinator of Bookbinders, said: “This group has shown real commitment and enthusiasm so I am delighted they won the prize. They have put a lot of hard work into their Bookbinders sessions so their win is well deserved.”

Bookbinders adopts a book group format and is used by homeless charities, organisations supporting young people not in education or training (NEETs), as well as parent groups linked to schools and community centres. The scheme encourages groups to find reading materials that appeal to their readers from news stories and graphic novels to screen plays of a hit film.

Organisations supporting individuals with literacy can find out more at bookbinders.org.uk.

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